NHTSA roadside survey shows decline in alcohol levels, drug use detected

Drunk Driving Handicap Parking

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a new roadside survey today that confirms a significant decline in the percentage of legally intoxicated drivers. In 1973, 7.5 percent of drivers had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher – the latest figure has fallen to 2.2 percent.

However, the survey also found that 16.3 percent of nighttime weekend drivers were drug positive with the most commonly drugs used by drivers were: marijuana (8.6 percent); cocaine (3.9 percent); and over-the-counter and prescription drugs (3.9 percent).

“I’m pleased to see that our battle against drunk driving is succeeding,” said Secretary LaHood. “However, alcohol still kills 13,000 people a year on our roads and we must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to prevent drunk driving.”

The NHTSA is conducting further research on how to assess how drugs affect a drivers ability to drive.

Among the findings of the latest roadside survey are these:

“¢ The percentage of male drivers with illegal BAC levels was 42 percent higher than the percentage of alcohol-impaired female drivers.

“¢ Drivers were more likely to be illegally drunk during late nighttime hours (1 a.m. to 3 a.m.) than during daytime or early evening hours.

“¢ Motorcycle riders were more than twice as likely as passenger vehicle drivers to be drunk (5.6 percent compared with 2.3 percent). Pickup truck drivers were the next most likely to have illegal BACs (3.3 percent).

The 2007 survey involved more than 300 roadside locations throughout the U.S. Click here to view the Research Note.

– By: Stephen Calogera